The Hidden Leaven
Luke 13:20-21
And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?…

The kingdom of heaven, or the work of God in the soul, is like leaven.

1. It at once occurs to us that leaven is something foreign to and different from the meal in which it is hidden; that it does not spring from or arise out of any fermentation in the meal; for, if left to itself, the meal would decay, and would never become leavened. Leaven has therefore to be introduced. It must be inserted, or, as the word here expresses it, "hidden." And this implies that "the kingdom of God cometh not with observation." Yet it comes, it is not there, it does not grow in a man, it does not come in the natural birth, it is not born "of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God"; therefore, wherever there is the work of holiness in the soul of the sinner, it is "a new birth unto righteousness," he is "delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son."

2. Then, it is clear, in the next place, that grace in the heart will be an abiding work — it will be energetic and permanent. Howsoever and wheresoever a man receives grace, whether in regeneration, at baptism, in approaching God's table, in the reading or the preaching of the Word, through the instrumentality of sickness or tribulation; whatever the time, or the date, or the circumstance, it will be active, and it will put forth energy in the soul. The very purpose and object of it is that it may leaven and produce a revolution, a rejuvenation, a transformation in the heart in which it is lodged. Therefore, brethren, we have no saving grace, unless it is working in our souls, and working mightily and effectually.

3. Next, it is clear that the result will be in those in whom it is hidden that it will be assimilated, and that it will produce effects similar to itself. Though the leaved be a foreign infusion into the meal, yet the leaven acts upon the meal, and makes it partake of its flavour, and like the leaven in taste, and action, and result; so that it assimilates. And is it not so in regard to grace got into a man's heart? It is not to be upon him as a mere scion — tied to a tree, but not incorporated with the tree; but it is to be in him, as a graft inserted in the stock and incorporated with the stock, so that it is no longer the old graft, but it is producing genuine fruit; instead of the crab, the apple from the garden of Eden shall be the result. Even so the grace of God in the soul of man works in him.

4. But it is a comfort to think, in the next place, that the assimilating operation of this leaven is gradual and progressive. It is not all at once. It is what may be in existence some time before it is discoverable in its results. Its progress is slow, but certain.

5. And it is pervasive. The leaven leavens on until it pervades the whole mass. A man, if he has the grace of God, cannot be good in one week and bad in another.

6. And then, brethren, the crown of the whole is, that the leaven shall ultimately pervade the whole mass. Before it is complete the whole mass is assimilated, and prepared, and so the kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven hid in meal. Yes, brethren, this is indeed the ground of our encouragement. He is faithful, "who also will do it"; and again, "God is faithful" who will "perform"; and again, it is said, God "worketh in you both to will and to do"; and, if He works in you, can the work fail?"

(R. Hall, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?

WEB: Again he said, "To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?

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